Aug
05

Yankees send Matt Thornton to Nationals on trade waivers

By
(Presswire)

(Presswire)

The Yankees have sent left-hander Matt Thornton to the Nationals via trade waivers, the team announced. Washington claimed him and the Yankees simply did not pull him back, so it’s a straight waiver claim. Thornton and the $4.5M or so he is owed through next season go to the Nationals for no return. Jon Heyman first reported the news. Ken Rosenthal says New York is working on other moves and may reallocate that money elsewhere.

Rich Hill was called up to replace Thornton, say the Yankees. He’ll join David Huff to give Joe Girardi two lefty relievers. Hill signed a minor league deal with the Yankees a few weeks ago after being released by the Angels. He made four appearances with Triple-A Scranton and is a pure specialist thanks to a funky sidearm motion. Think Clay Rapada. The Yankees are currently carrying an eight-man bullpen out of necessity — their starters aren’t pitching deep into games at all — but swapping out one lefty specialist for another doesn’t really change their depth.

Thornton, 37, had a 2.55 ERA (2.73 FIP) in 24.2 innings across 46 appearances this year, so Girardi was wisely using him as a matchup guy. Left-handers hit .237/.306/.250 against him with a 17.2% strikeout rate. Thornton had good numbers overall but he allowed half of the runners he inherited to score since June 1st and his 7.8% swing-and-miss rate ranks 179th out of the 217 relievers to throw at least 20 innings this year. Letting a soon-to-be 38-year-old lefty specialist who relies primarily on his fastball, can’t gets swings and misses, and is owed ~$4.5M makes sense.

The Yankees do have some lefty relief depth in the minors, most notably Tyler Webb and Jacob Lindgren. Webb has climbed from High-A Tampa to Triple-A Scranton while holding lefties to a .190/.248/.270 batting line in 2014. He has an 81/18 K/BB in 57.1 innings overall. Lindgren was just drafted in June and has a 30/4 K/BB in 13.1 pro innings. He was just promoted to Double-A Trenton. I suspect Hill is just keeping a spot warm for Lindgren, who could be called up when rosters expand in September, after he gets a few more minor league innings under his belt.

The Yankees haven’t had much luck giving multi-year contracts to lefty relievers these last few years, though unlike Damaso Marte and Pedro Feliciano, they were able to move Thornton to another team before it got ugly. This move is about the Yankees feeling they can better use that $4.5M elsewhere on the roster given the left-handed bullpen options they have in the upper minors. That’s all. How they spend the savings now is what will be really interesting.

Categories : Transactions
  • acX

    Ok so we have no lefties in the pen now? I know Lindgren is on the fast track, but he only got promoted to AA a day or two ago, no way they bring him up so fast, would they?

    • Scott

      We have Huff in the pen as a lefty

      • acX

        Forgot about Huff.

        He is more of a long reliever who is a lefty, not a lefty to get lefties out.

        Thornton’s 40 man spot opens up, maybe we actually see Lindgren brought up. Would be a deviation from the way things are normally done around here, where guys sit in the minors for 8 years.

        • BigDavey88

          #loljoba

          • JonS

            #lolonepersonoutofhowmany?

            • BigDavey88

              I’m not gonna sit here and type out all the examples of the Yankees Calling Up Kids (TM) and Letting Them Play (TM) or Letting Them Rot (TM) and Getting Their Feelings Hurt So They Play Badly (TM). It’s a wasted exercise here.

              There’s a difference between calling up a player that represents an ACTUAL upgrade to what is currently being fielded in the majors versus what fan expectations of The Young Stud are and what they THINK, or more likely hope, they can do.

              The thing is the Yankees have had a lot of good players/ players that can’t be moved for various reasons. Maybe the Yankees have wanted to call up a player but couldn’t. More realistically, the Yankees haven’t had many minor leaguers to call up because they’ve never had that great of a system anyway.

              So no, I don’t buy into this theory that the Yankees never call up young guys to the team. Gar

        • Bigdan

          Again just a huge difference in how the Yanks look at young pitchers as opposed to young hitters. The Yanks will give young pitchers a shot. But when it comes to position players, the old vets also get the benefit of the doubt.

          • craig

            It could also be that they have limited openings for young position players when you factor in the guys that are no-brainers and/or under contract versus 12 pitching slot + numerous openings due to injuries.

          • Deep Thoughts

            Thornton was a serviceable piece with a track record this offseason, and I’m sure the team could have and would have lived with him in the bullpen through 2015. But Lindgren, a college draftee who’s stuff is darn close to MLB-ready, wasn’t on the board at that time. Now he is. So why pull back a guy who adds marginal value in a completely commoditized role? LOOGYs are like paper clips. You lose or break one, just reach into a drawer and fish out another.

    • Junebug

      You obviously didnt read this article

  • Scott

    Holy crap. That’s the last thing I thought I’d read today. Curious that they moved Lindgren up just yesterday.

    So they get nothing in return but salary relief? What was his salary?

    I wonder who gets called up to replace him in the pen today?

    • Exiledintampa

      3.5 mill next year. I hated when Joe thought Thornton could pitch to Rightys.

    • Old Man Time

      He was signed to a 2/$7M contract.

      • trr

        I never understood why they gave him a 2 yr to begin with

    • The Ghost of Eric Duncan

      3.5 million next year and whatever was left of his 3.5 million this year.

      • Djan

        This is gret! Clear some money space… He does not worth that money!
        Give this money and some plus to DRob

  • mitch

    Surprising. Getting his $4 mil next season off the books will be nice

  • The Ghost of Eric Duncan

    So awesome. I don’t know who gets the call up, but I’ve never been a Thornton fan.

    • Rick

      Whether you’ve been a fan or not, he’s been pitching very well lately. This is definitely a loss in the short term.

      • http://twitter.com/#!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

        Yeah, agreed. He’s looked good. Not a fan of the move, but I get it.

      • Rob

        He is one of the worst in the league when it comes to pitching with men on base. I have a feeling that they tried to get this deal done by 7-31 but couldn’t find a match so they decided to just let him go and save $4 million. Bringing up a guy like Rich Hill makes sense to hold down the fort until roster expansion on 9-1. What would have happened had he gotten worse? They would have released him and would have had to pay him the remaining of his salary. Good move in my opinion. He reached his potential but won’t sustain it.

  • Andrew

    Damaso Marte is coming back. #hero

    • Arjun

      yes pleaseee

    • Arjun

      yes pleaseee

  • Jerkface

    Very, very good of the Nats to save Cashman from one of his loogy contracts. Really great. To get rid of him without having to pay anything going forward is really swell.

    • Giuseppe Franco

      One of several predictably bad signings this offseason but at least the worst of them are gone (Thornton, Roberts, and Johnson).

      • http://twitter.com/#!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

        Hard to call cheap one year deals “bad signings”. Roberts and Johnson didn’t cost much.

        • Giuseppe Franco

          Of course they were bad signings since they were projected to be regulars.

          They weren’t signed to be insurance or else you’d be right.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            Slightly revisionist history.

            They were signed as probably regulars in a market where the alternatives were getting far more than what they were worth. Considering what the team could have done, these graze the first rock layer of “bad signing.”

            • Giuseppe Franco

              Disagree on that.

              Under any circumstance, relying on Brian Roberts to be your everyday second baseman was quite the blunder simply based on his inability the previous 5 years to stay on the field.

              And it’s not like he was producing stellar numbers when he was healthy.

              The biggest surprise was that he managed to stay on the field long enough to prove he wasn’t a regular on a team supposedly contending for a playoff spot.

              Still never understood why they never put Johnson at 2B.

              • http://twitter.com/#!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

                “Still never understood why they never put Johnson at 2B.”

                Because they didn’t have a 3B.

                • Giuseppe Franco

                  Solarte was their 3B for a couple of months when they caught lightning in a bottle.

                  They had plenty of opportunities to let Johnson play 2B.

                  • Jorge Steinbrenner

                    Ah, Solarte. The great April hope.

                • Rob

                  …or a 1b for 30 games.

          • Deathstroke Heathcott

            If they were bad signings, you have to point out the alternatives to be regulars that would’ve been the good signings. Cano for how much he got? Infante on that deal? Those would’ve been worse signings.

            • http://twitter.com/#!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

              This.

              These weren’t bad signings. They were just the best of very limited options at the time give the cost/potential benefit. Now we have a real infield due to some slick dealing by Cashman.

            • Mr. Roth

              Yup. This.

        • mick taylor

          yeah like travis hafner. how about that grady sizemore hitting 300 with phillies. should yanks trade for him

        • Dick M

          How did it get to that though?

          I love it when the DCAs give Cash a pass because “no one was out there”.

          • Mr. Roth

            Yeah, any other GM would have done their best Dr. Frankenstein impression and created a baseball player out of spare parts they had lying around the office.

            I guess?

    • ChipS56

      Completely agree – the thought of Thornton taking up a roster spot next year was annoying me.

  • acX

    2/7 I think.

  • mustang

    How about Manny Banuelos ?

    • nycsportzfan

      I would imagine Webb and Lindgren are both on the list to take the spot.

    • W.B. Mason Williams

      Leave him where he is.

      Don’t deviate from whatever regimen gets him back to being a starter.

      If that fails, then turn him loose in the pen and get what you can.

      • I’m One

        Nothing wrong with limiting his innings this year by placing him in the pen in the Majors. Have him prepare as a start for next season.

        • Evan3457

          They did with Joba, and it worked, right?

          Amiright?

          • Greg

            Also didn’t help that with Joba, one day he was a starter, the next he was a reliever, and the next he was a starter again.

      • Scott

        It might make sense to get Banuelos some pen time so they can control his innings and he can get his feet wet in the bigs. Teams used to do that all the time, bringing up starters to work in the big league pen before they got a full season in the majors. They have gotten away from that in the recent years. (Joba was a crazy exception, I don’t want to open that stupid argument ever again.)

        • W.B. Mason Williams

          I get the innings limit thing, and in principle that’s a good idea. But relieving is different from starting. He might change his velocity, his mechanics, and it’ll definitely be a different mental place to be.

          The fact that he’s so fragile, just coming back from injury, and still so young says to me that he needs stability.

          My perspective, leave him a starter, even a 3-4 inning starter, and let him go a straight, regular, normal and unsurprising road to the majors. That’s the lowest-risk way for him to approach his ceiling.

          Worst comes to worst, he doesn’t work out in the rotation and the pen is his fallback.

  • Pkyankfan69

    Little surprising considering he had been pitching pretty well lately… Even if they are high on Lindgren and plan on calling him up in September(which you have to assume they are) it leaves them with with only Huff (?) as a lefty in the BP for awhile.

    • RkyMtnYank

      Thornton being a lefty was pretty irrelevant, they can find almost anyone to eat up his innings.

  • Mike HC

    Weird. Gotta think the Yanks just didn’t think he was worth the rest of his deal (5 mil?), plus the probably heavy luxury tax on top of it, for about another like 55 total innings.

  • Bigdan

    Wow. This is a bit of a surprise. But it certainly reflects something I brought up a few days ago in talking about Drob. The Yanks don’t want to spend a cent on relief pitching. They think they can draft and develop a surplus so there should be no need to use payroll on that part of the team. Sure the Yanks have Lindgren and Webb but they aren’t in the major leagues just yet. And though I’m no fan of Thornton, he was only on the books for $3.5MM next year. That was chump change to George. But not to Hal. I hope folks are starting to see just how process oriented and value-conscious Hal is. I’ve referred to this behavior before in the Drew debate earlier in the year. Hal was not going to spend $10MM+ for insurance.

    I think it looks more and more like Drob is history.

    • Chris in Maine

      Based on ownership’s signing of Soriano a couple of years ago, I have seen nothing that leads me to believe that D-Rob will not be back, should he want to stay in pin stripes.

      • Bigdan

        That was old Hal. Or the Yanks before Hal took full control and was deferring to guys like Levine (remember that was a Levine deal, not Cashman). I’ve written extensively about this on the old blog. I believe sometime last summer when it became obvious that the farm would not save 189, Hal made several changes, the biggest being his taking a more hands on approach in operations including roster construction. His value-oriented approach has been very consistent since as I’ve documented before.

        • Deep Thoughts

          I agree with your overall principle. There is definitely closer scrutiny of every dark corner of the payroll and the roster. I would like to think they will draw a distinction between a journeyman LOOGY and a highly effective (and *consistent*) closer coming into his prime.

        • I’m One

          You make a valid point based on some of the things we’ve seen, but I’ll wait till DRob is not re-signed before I fully believe this. It’s a possibility, but I don’t beleive they’ll trust the closers role to Betances this soon. His track record is far too short (unlike DRob’s before he took over).

          • Bigdan

            I’m not certain Drob won’t be resigned but I’m leaning strongly that way. It’s not a easy call. But all of the moves in the last year (no RP in the offseason, drafting a top RP this year, the tight budget now with Prado, and this Thornton move) seem to suggest the Yanks are devaluing relief pitchers as a group in terms of budgetary priorities.

            I see it shaping up this way right now: Either Lester/Scherzer and a cheap SS or Drob plus someone like McCarthy with a little bit more money for a SS. I don’t think there will be any upgrades anywhere else. Just starting pitching and SS. Prado seals the deal with the infield and the OF.

    • Giuseppe Franco

      Perhaps one day they’ll realize that the pen has carried them for much of the season since they can’t score runs consistently.

      It’s true most pen arms are replaceable but certainly not the elite ones and D-Rob would certainly qualify.

      On another note, though, it didn’t seem like Hal was especially value-conscious when they signed Ellsbury to that stupid contract.

      • Bigdan

        I’ve written about this as well. Hal, and managers like him, become super value conscious only has they approach budgetary limits. That’s how big firms usually operate. That’s why, as a salesman, you want to hit up those firms early in the fiscal year while all the buyers are flush with cash.

        Ellsbury was a product of Cano. That money was already allocated to Cano so essentially it was already spent. When Cano dropped out, the money was just there to be used. A bad baseball decision, in my opinion, but a very typical decision for finance guys.

        You often here folks say “why was the spigot shut off” when referring to last offseason. It wasn’t really shut off. The reservoir was empty!. All allocated funds had been spent.

        This is how finance people operate. This is how Hal operates.

        • sas

          Dude, you are a fan posting on a message board. Stop pretending like you are some Yankees expert and know anything about what you are writing about. Look at you wrting about the owner as if you know him. Loads like you are why fewer people come here.

          • Scott

            Thank you

          • Mike HC

            He may be laying it on a little much all over the thread, and not saying I agree with him, but I think he has an interesting take on it, in my opinion.

            • Jorge Steinbrenner

              He is probably the worst addition of the past week not looking to potentially phish information.

              • Mr. Roth

                The skin that drips down from the tree
                And peels back slowly from your knee
                Erupts into your lung and heart
                You laugh and laughing, fall apart
                That’s all the Phish info I got for ya.

            • bardos

              bigdan’s opinions are always interesting.

          • Dick M

            He’s pedantic and then some but, you gotta admit, he makes some sense.

        • TWTR

          Except Hal seems to find money when his primary goal of making the playoffs every single year (rather than taking a longer view to construct the best team over several seasons) seems to be in jeopardy (we just saw that with the acquisitions of fMcCarthy, Headley, Drew, and um Prado which all required taking on more salary than they were sending back).

          That, more than anything else seems to determine the flow of funds.

          Obviously, that is suboptimal because there isn’t always great talent when the money suddenly becomes available and there is often very good talent when it isn’t (like Darvish and the Cuban players).

          So allocation is fluid and changeable.

          • Bigdan

            “So allocation is fluid and changeable.”

            ——

            It is and isn’t. Now McCarthy, Headley, Drew, Prado that was all very predictable. That money was already allocated as part of the reserve for this year’s budget. I’ve talked about that reserve before. Prado is different because that affects 2015′s budget.

            Yesterday I talked about how you can “mess with” budgets and the budgetary process. You have to go “off-budget” or find a different budget to hit. If you’ve been around big companies you know what I’m talking about. That’s how you may be able to bring in someone like Tomas next year. That’s where the fluidity comes in.

            But first it’s necessary to understand how the process works. Then you can figure out how to get around it.

            • Scott

              Please let me know how you know how much the Yankees had in reserve for this year?

              Sometimes the more you talk, the less you actually say….

              • Bigdan

                Actually Axisa nailed it in one of his articles, maybe in June (?) regarding potential moves to be made at the deadline so you can look it up (about $10MM.

                It’s actually pretty easy to figure out if you can count.

            • TWTR

              I agree that McCarthy, Headley and Drew were predictable given their expiring contracts, but I don’t think Prado (or his contract) was because he is a bad fit for this team going forward given their pre-existing $170m for next year and beyond, and because his lack of power makes him a poor fit for any open position (3B/RF) that he has the ability to play, except 2B, where they desperately need the salary offset that Refsndyer has the ability to offer.

              Plus, by integrating Refs on to the roster it would enable both Cashman and Hal to point to a potential success of their supposed renewed interest in in-hoouse development, which is becoming a necessity for the reasons I discussed above.

              So taken together I think the process is less neat than your post would suggest.

              • Bigdan

                Actually Prado fits very well into the Yanks’ strategic plan which they began executing last off season. Prado is the Zobrist factor. Because he can cover both 3b and RF, that allows the Yanks to continue to connect both positions to existing payroll obligations, Arod at 3b and Beltran in RF, while Prado is their to fill in in case either player can’t handle the position full time. In their minds, it saves them from spending payroll on a new 3b or a new OF (hence of course no Headley). And if Arod and Beltran hold up, Prado plays 2b with Refs in reserve.

                See it all really works doesn’t it? At least in their minds. Now if I were in charge I would have had Solarte play “Zobrist,” saved $11MM, used that money (plus a bit more) for Melky and made Beltran the full time DH. But the Yanks have a love affair with veterans, hence Prado. And they also want to keep the DH spot open, which I also think is a mistake.

                • TWTR

                  The “Zobrist factor” only comes into play when there are starting players in place for 3B, SS, 2B, RF, and probably one or more rotation spots, particularly in terms of salary allocation and budgetary factors.

                  At this point, we don’t know if Beltran can play RF very often (if at ll), or if A-Rod can play 3B very often, (if at all) and we do know that Prado doesn’t have nearly enough power to be more than a name penciled into the lineup at those spots.

                  So sure, we can label him a “Zobrist,” but Zobrist has a 122 OPS+, which enables him to be a credible 3B or RF. Prado’s 90ish OPS+ doesn’t cut it.

                  Meanwhile, $11m that could be devoted to a starting 3B, RF, SS or starting pitcher (let alone Robertson) is up in smoke.

                  • Bigdan

                    I believe in the Yanks’ mind, they have starters for 3b and RF next year. SS is having an audition. They hope a cheap one. And Prado can play 2b so it all fits, at least to them.

                    Watch how it plays out. There will be no acquisitions for 3b or the OF in the offseason. The budget and roster is set there and Prado proves that.

                    • TWTR

                      Well, their mind is hard to read, but that’s my point. If they saved the $11m spent on Prado (and they tried because they reportedly preferred the much cheaper Ackley), they could have spent that $11m for a much better fit for any one of their roster holes, which may be quite real no matter what they want to believe.

                      If, for example, they don’t make the playoffs for a second consecutive year, Hal will have no choice but to spend a record-setting amount to hedge against the issues with CC, A-Rod, and maybe Tanaka, unless he wants to sell a possible (perish the thought) rebuild/reload-take-a-step-back-year to ticket holders and advertisers.

                      That is why I don’t think there is really a process in the usual sense of the word.

                      I think it is an ever-evolving set of tactics instead of an over-arching strategy.

                • Rick

                  Yes, because Solarte is as good as Prado.

                  • Bigdan

                    Prado better be better. He’s 20 times more expensive!!!

        • Cool Lester Smooth

          Absolutely none of this “logic” makes any sense.

          And the likelihood of the Yankees signing Robertson is as strong as ever after today’s developments with Thornton.

          Methinks someone is overthinking things a tad here…

          • TWTR

            We didn’t know the odds of re-signing Robertson before moving Thorton’s contract and we don’t know them now.

            All we do know if that according to Robertson’s last public comment, no talks having taking place to this point.

            • Bill O

              Barring injury or a late season meltdown it seems very likely the Yankees offer DRob the qualifying offer. With that in mind DRob’s options are 1) Take it and it be the highest paid RP for the year 2) Negotiate a long term deal with the Yankees 3) Take his chances with draft pick compensation tied to him (something that didn’t work out so well for guys like Drew and Morales last year).

              With that in mind the chances of DRob returning to the Yankees are very high. I personally think he’ll just accept the QO.

    • Rick

      Waiving a reliever they didn’t consider to be worth $3.5M next year doesn’t mean they’re being cheap and in no way depicts Hal as a “value-conscious” owner, particularly compared to his father. What would you call the addition of McCarthy? What would you call the addition of Headley in exchange for two cost controlled players? Most importantly, what would you call spending $500M in an offseason?

      This move can be defined and disposed of simply: Thornton wasn’t worth $3.5M to them next year.

      • Bigdan

        McCarthy and Headley (and Prado) were all part of Hal’s process oriented approach to payroll and Yankee finances. I’ve written about this as well. Hal had a reserve for a mid-season correction. Probably around $10MM. That’s why the payroll was kept at about $200MM going into the season. The mid-season additions gets the team back to the threshold I’ve discussed before, around $210MM. I’ve worked around organizations run by managers like Hal. That reserve was going to be spent one way or another. That’s the process in him.

        Hal is very predictable. He tells you exactly where he’s going if you listen carefully.

        • The REAL Bigdan

          You are clueless and stop using my name.

        • Scott

          So you speak to him a lot??

    • http://twitter.com/#!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

      “I think it looks more and more like Drob is history.”

      No it doesn’t. They paid their prior close, Mo, well for a long time. They even had an expensive set-up man a couple years back in Soriano. Very few relivers are worth big bucks, but DRob may be one of them.

      • Bigdan

        Once again. Old “hands off” Hal. Pre-2013. And Rivera was always an exception. A legacy. They are almost all gone now. New sheriff in town.

        • http://twitter.com/#!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

          Pre-2013? So your sample size is 2 years? Lol. No reliever will have made as much sense as re-signing DRob will be. In 2013 they had both a premier set-up man and closer, no need for an expensive RP. This year they had a great in-house closer option and, more importantly, many holes to spend money to fill. They weren’t going to shell out big bucks for an outside RP.

          • Bigdan

            I would love for the Yanks to sign Drob to an extension. But you can’t look at these things in a vacuum. Every move the Yanks make means there’s another move they can’t make. That’s because the budgetary process is a zero sum game. I think from reading comments over the last couple years on these blogs folks are finally starting to realize that’s how the Yanks operate.

            So, if the Yanks sign Drob, then who must they forgo? That’s the question. I have the budget for next year right around $190MM (Jerkface numbers). Drob would put them well over $200MM with the historical barrier at about $210MM. No room for a big starting pitching acquisition unless Hal raises the threshold. And they still need a SS.

            So would you rather have Drob or Lester?

            • Scott

              “I have the budget for next year right around $190MM (Jerkface numbers).”

              Ahhhhh, now I get it. You are the yankees accountant. So why didn’t you say so before. Then we would all just agree with you.

            • Dick M

              I think the insurance on A-Rod could be an x factor here. At his age, it’s not that hard to envision an injury that leaves him unable to play.

  • Howie

    Tyler Webb, anybody? Strikes me he should be higher on the left-handed reliever depth chart than Lindgren.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      He did get Billy Eppler his new job, after all.

      #lastthread

    • Rick

      No way, Webb isn’t anywhere near the prospect that Lindgren is. Lindgren probalby could’ve been inserted immediately into the bullpen upon being drafted.

    • nycsportzfan

      We’ve talked alot about relievers in the Dotf threads lately, and this is kinda proof yet again how the brass feels about the systems relief arms.

      When your pulling Phelps, Warren, Coke, Khanle, Betances, Claibornes, Kontos, Whitleys, and so many more outta the system it starts to make you wonder why your spending any money on the market for relievers.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        I was in support of signing Thornton at the time. I thought the team needed at least one vet in there with so many unproven guys in new role.

        Still think there’s a place for a vet, even in a place with good young arms.

      • TWTR

        On Robertson? Because it’s good to have a veteran with demonstrated success along young pitchers. On Thorton, no that’s not necessary.

  • Raza

    Tyler Webb has been chewing up hitters all season. Plus he’s in AAA, he might get a shot at least until they deem Lindgren ready.

  • Mike

    Cashman has a call in for Sergio Mitre.

  • Adam

    What? So now we don’t actually have a lefty in the pen who can…you know…get lefties out???

    • RkyMtnYank

      We didn’t before.

      • Stratocaster

        Exactly. I don’t ever recall thinking during a big Ortiz at-bat… Oh, no problem, Thornton’s gonna pitch to him here. Or any sort of similar situation.

  • Dan G

    Little surprised the Yankees didn’t get ANYTHING in return. At least a token fringy single A pitcher. I know the one thing the Yanks are good at is developing relievers but they’re also not exactly in a position to be giving away arms especially if they need Huff or Warren for a spot start or three.

    • Scott

      MLBTraderumors is saying the Yanks/Nats have 48 hours to work out a trade. If not then it is a straight salary dump.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        So you’re saying Harper’s coming over. OK.

        • Chip Rodriguez

          I know he’s left handed and has good strikeout numbers, but can he pitch?

        • Scott

          I heard from Jim Bowden it’s Harper and Strasburg

  • Cesar “Stairs” Cabral

    *nods in approval*

  • Y’s Guy

    $7.5M (salary plus lt penalty) is not chump change. I’d say they expect that they were eventually going to have to dfa him and wanted to lay off that contract. I can’t blame them, really, he’s been ok but i wont be missing him at all.

    • Bigdan

      I think it’s only $3.5MM next year. And no way Hal would DFA a useful pitcher. There would be no benefit there. He still be paying the salary. Just like there’s no way he releases Arod. No benefit.

      Hal needs to see a realizable benefit in all his transaction. That’s his value-oriented approach. And we know now, the benefit doesn’t have to be very large. He is a finance guy.

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    I was bit more bullish on Thornton, as in I only found him very diminished rather than a complete waste, but getting out of that second year commitment, if they clearly didn’t think much of him, is a good move.

    This seemingly creates a lane for a certain Mistah Lindgren sooner rather than later. Don’t think it happens now. At all. Probably just more work for Huff.

    • Rick

      Heard we’re giving Thornton for Fister in order to solve our rotation problems.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        I love me some Doug Fister. In our dreams.

        • vicki

          team dog fister.

      • Blake

        I can’t see that but wow that would be good

  • http://yankeesfaninboston.blogspot.com Dee

    Interesting… I like clearing that contract but only having 1 lefty makes me a little nervous.

  • TWTR

    And some salary relief next year!

  • BINNER

    This could finally be Pat Venditte’s shot….

    • http://yankeesfaninboston.blogspot.com Dee

      That would be awesome… Guy has played his heart out.

      • Steve (different one)

        Both ventricles!

    • Rick

      I think we would all love to see the circus that is an ambi pitcher, but I don’t believe this move would be because he’s forced his way up.

      • http://yankeesfaninboston.blogspot.com Dee

        It would get a lot of airtime as being a novelty, but he has really played heard.

  • Hankflorida

    The waiver list taketh and giveth. Does this mean that a starter may be on the horizon and in the Yankees grasp?

  • nycsportzfan

    I will say Thornton was pretty good the last 2 months. The team looks way different then it did on opening day.

    Soriano
    Solarte
    Nuno
    K.Johnson
    B.Roberts
    M.Thornton

    Gone.

    • Andrew

      No love for Dean Anna?

  • Frankie Cerveddardi

    Good. He was behind Delin, Warren and Kelley in the setup roles. I would rather have any of those 3 over Thorton in a big spot even vs a lefty. Now Girardi can’t mix and match so much going to a lefty just because the batter is a lefty.

  • Mister D

    Do you think Washington claimed Thornton because he’s a veteran who can teach Bryce Harper how to act more like a veteran and do things that only a veteran player would do good at?

  • mustang

    1:54pm: The Nationals have in fact acquired Thornton after placing a claim, reports Heyman. It’s not yet clear whether or what the Nationals will send in return other than taking on salary, says Heyman.

  • Dick M

    I thought we we didn’t have a budget.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      The Matt Thornton-specific budget got cut to zero.

      • Stratocaster

        ietc

  • Not an ace

    Tyler Webb come on up! I like this move alot, even with no return. Now we can evaluate and watch another relief prospect instead of a league average to mediocre veteran.

  • ChipS56

    Tyler Webb has been extremely efficient in AAA so I could see them calling him up or, a couple of interesting names have hit the DFA line lately – Erik Bedard and Jacob Turner – either of whom could be candidates to join the rotation while Phelps is on the DL.

  • blake

    Look I know it’s nice to dump Thorntons salary for next season and I know the kid is coming……but I’m the meanwhile I don see how this doesn’t hurt their bullpen in the short term. Thornton was pitching better and is the only lefty they have out there…..maybe by September they won’t need him…..but these August games are pretty important too.

    Not sure I’m THAT happy to take away from the current pen just to save 4 million bucks for 2015……especially when they probably could have dumped it this winter anyway if they tried hard enough

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      I don’t think it’s that bad.

      You can easily slide Huff into the role as a versatile lefty, while moving Rogers out of mop-up and into low leverage (if he’s not in the rotation at this point.)

      At some point, this spot is Lindgren’s.

      • blake

        Yes but Huff isn’t very good and Lindgren isn’t ready just yet……again I just don’t see the big worry about his 2015 salary…..they could likely dump most of that this winter to somebody if they wanted.

        I mean Thornton hasn’t allowed a run in the 2nd half……not saying it’s season killer obviously ….I’m just not wild about dumping him right now

        • Mike HC

          The move is definitely a bit odd. I can’t remember the last time the Yanks just let someone go on waivers, who was actually contributing, for apparently no return.

        • Farewell Mo

          Agree. It makes little sense IMO to dump someone of even modest value just to save $4.5 million over the next 1 1/3rd seasons.

        • CountryClub

          We don’t know that he’s not ready. In recent years a few starters have gone from A to the majors. It wouldn’t be shocking to see a college reliever be able to pull it off. That said. I don’t expect him to get the call.

        • Bigdan

          I agree. It is a bit odd since Thornton had actually has been pitching well the last month or so and there is no ML substitute that I can see right now. It’s even odder to do it in the middle of a pennant race. I can’t imagine Girardi likes this move.

          I think it shows, more than anything else, just what a tight ship Hal is setting up here from a finance perspective.

    • ChipS56

      Blake –

      Part of the appeal of the LOOGY is having that guy who can neutralize the big LH bat. Thornton wasn’t that guy. Put another way, assume Thornton was still on the team, the Yankees and Red Sox are tied in the 7th, Ortiz up, pen is fully rested Girardi comes out to the mound – who do you want him to bring in?

      My bet is that you could comfortably list two other guys (not including DRob) before getting to your lefty specialist.

      • blake

        I’m thinking there is more to this……I can’t see them just dumping in without a counter move

        • Pete22

          Lindgren is going to be up soon. When they signed Thornton it was for a guy who could take over for Logan and be used against RHP’ers and LHP’ers. Thornton was not that guy. No room for him next year as a LOOGY, not on the roster or Hals budget. He was pitching well in a limited role of late though, so hopefully Hill can did a good job in the interim. Imagine missing out on the playoffs because your LOOGY blew a couple of games and missing out on another 70 million in revenue to save 3.5 million in 2015?. Penny wise.

      • TWTR

        Despite pitching better lately, Thorton was no longer in the circle of trust. So he became expendable.

        • Scott

          I’m watching you Focker…

          “No! After next month, I am going to be Pamela Martha Focker. I…I know how that sounds, but I don’t care!”

          • TWTR

            Missed it, but I will check Netflix.

            • Scott

              If you get a chance watch it, pretty funny movie, and the sequel – Meet the Parents.

              Robert De Niro plays the father in law and he is an ex CIA agent. He calls his inner circle the “circle of trust. I thought that is what you were referring to

              • TWTR

                Oh, ok, but no, that was another name for Torre’s guys in the pen that he (ab)used.

  • Tanakalypse Now

    Maybe bring up Pat Venditte to replace Thornton in the pen?

  • CountryClub

    Ken Rosenthal ?@Ken_Rosenthal 3m
    Thornton move saves #Yankees about $4.5M. Rest of ’14 salary, plus $3.5M in ’15. NYY working on other things, could redirect money.

    • blake

      Now if they can use the money to get somebody better….awesome

      • ChipS56

        Blake,

        I’m man crushing on Jacob Turner right now – the Marlins just DFA’d him. 23 years old former top prospect, unlock that talent?

        • blake

          Why not

        • JOhn C

          I bet he claimed before Yanks have a chance.

    • Bigdan

      I think this is probably it. To make a another move, Hal had find money somewhere else. This may be it. This shows you just how serious Hal is when it comes to budgets. That’s the finance guy in him.

      I can’t imagine Hal spending $10MM+ on a relief pitcher next year. Not when he has Betances. Not unless he’s going to jack the budget to $250MM.

      • The REAL Bigdan

        It’s actually quite simple. They are going to trade for a big $$$ pitcher and need to absorb more salary to give up lower level prospects. There is really nothing else to it than that.

  • Farewell Mo

    Kind of surprising since he was pretty effective vs. lefties with a paltry .250/.306/.250 and wasn’t exactly terrible vs righties either with a .243/.326/.378 against righties this year.

    More surprised the Yankees would let someone of even modest value go for nothing just to save a few million.

  • BoyohBoy

    #EnterLindgren

  • CountryClub

    Daniel Barbarisi ?@DanBarbarisi 6m
    Source says LHP Rich Hill coming up to take Thornton’s bullpen spot.

    • Evan3457

      Extremely small sample size advisory

      In 4 games at Scranton, Hill: 4 innings, 2 hits, 1 BB, 10 K, 0 runs.
      It’s possible the Yankees’ staff fixed something with him, because he was terrible in his one appearance for the Angels, and so-so with Pawtucket before that.

      Maybe not: 2 wild pitches in 4 innings.

      • Dick M

        My buddy had Rich Hill in Legion ball. Hill’s got a sick breaking ball. Might be lightening in a bottle.

      • Pete22

        Before his TJ Surgery he was a very effective LOOGY. Nasty stuff. not so after that, but maybe he is 100% now. Hope so

  • neaks

    Clay Rapada was just released from BAL…recapture some of that 2012 LOOGY magic?

    • Tanuki Tanaka

      MiLB deal wouldn’t hurt.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      It’s been a while, at this point. Find me the NEXT Rapada.

  • emac2

    Sweet!

    Banuelos is probably heading this way soon as well.

  • ChipS56

    Dan Barbarisi just tweeted that it will be Rich Hill who comes up to take Thornton’s spot – because why call up a kid when there’s a middling veteran around.

    • mustang

      Oh please !

      Do you mean Jacob Lindgren? In the middle of pennant race ? That’s a bit much to ask for the youth movement.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Placeholder until there’s a better option, or they don’t even need to carry 62 pitchers. As disposable a piece as it gets.

  • ChipS56

    Personally I would bring in Bedard for the pen and Jacob Turner (just DFAd by the Marlins) for the rotation.

    • Rick

      If you wanted to get Turner to stash in the minors, that’s one thing. To put him in our rotation, depleted and all, would be a huge mistake. I’m all for grabbing him and trying to extract value of out of him going forward though – just not at the big league leavel.

    • Steve (different one)

      You just bitched two seconds ago that they didn’t call up a kid, and now you want Bedard? Bedard is just French for Rich Hill…

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        I laughed. Mightily.

  • Fat Toad

    so funny… so they are not comfortable inserting a rookie 2nd baseman in the middle of a playoff chase, but they have no problem relying on a rookie reliever for high leverage outs.

    • CountryClub

      Well, we’re just speculating about him eventually getting called up. But if he did, there’s a big difference between playing daily for 9 innings vs getting 1 or 2 guys out a game 3 days a week.

      • Fat Toad

        true, but i actually think there is more room for error in the former. idk, the inconsistency in front office decisions over the past few years just kills me.

        • CountryClub

          fair enough. But they have given a ton of position players a chance over the past few years due to injury and none of them really amounted to much (outside of a hot streak here or there). But that’s because they were fringy prospects to begin with. And obviously that’s a bigger issue

          They did stick with Gardner through some rocky times. They gave Nunez a ton of chances; Cervelli too. They want these guys to work out…most just don’t.

    • Tom K

      Not sure why it is so funny…if they feel Refsnyder isn’t ready, he isn’t coming. If they feel Lindgren or Webb is ready, they are coming. I don’t know why that is tough to really comprehend….

      • Fat Toad

        the irony, i guess…. both replacements are inexperienced only one would be filling a huge need, while the other is replacing a relative strength.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        He’s talking about Lindgren? Then this makes little sense. There’s been no decision to bring Lindgren up. Where is he pitching high-leverage outs?

        • Fat Toad

          im referencing the article in which these comments are being posted. it speculated lindgren was being brought up prior to it being updated.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            Gotcha.

            I think you’re way jumping the gun, though. There’s been zero decision to bring Lindgren up as of yet.

            Let’s say they pulled the trigger on it, though. You can hide Lindgren in the bullpen better than you can hide Refsnyder in the middle of the infield, especially if we’re talking September.

            • Fat Toad

              disagree with your last paragraph. Lindgren would most likely come in to get a lefty in late innings. those are important situations. at least Ref would have more margin for error and the ability to “learn on the job”. in any event, i don’t disagree with bringing Lindgren up, it’s just seems like a 180 from their existing thought process. that’s where my frustration lies, very fickle long-term strategy.

              • Jorge Steinbrenner

                I don’t think it’s a given that he’s facing David Ortiz his first week in the majors.

                That being said, this guy was drafted on doing one thing very, very well, so well that some people thought he could get MLB hitters out with it on Day One.

                Refsnyder has shown the ability to hit across levels thus far, but there’s nothing in his game that inspires that sort of potential confidence on Day One.

                I hope they both become All-Stars in pinstripes….in 2015.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      That rookie’s been pitching in the majors since the start of the season. He wasn’t brought up yesterday.

      Refsnyder would be a trial by fire for sure.

      You can’t compare them, in the least, unless we’re not even talking about Betances here, to which I wouldn’t even know what the point is.

  • CountryClub

    Jon Heyman ?@JonHeymanCBS 1m
    yankees working on using $ from thornton. as @YankeesWFAN said, No. 1 pick lindgren could work eventually. nasty slider.

  • MB923

    I’m reading Rich Hill is taking Thornton’s spot

  • vicki

    free at last.

  • mikeb

    How bout bringing up Venditte as a lefty (and a righty)

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    Fine with Hill getting the shot for now. Funky sidearm motion? Maybe he can fool them for a few weeks in a mini-Rapada sort of way.

  • CelerinoSanchez

    Never trusted Thornton. Good riddance. They have something else up their sleeve no doubt – some free agent from Mexico, Korea or Cuba. Or some kids.

  • Evan3457

    Re: Damaso Marte, yes, contract worked out badly, but he was easily the 2nd best reliever on the team behind Mo in the 2009 post-season, and all the others had meltdowns at one point or another.

    In fact, he might’ve actually be better than Mo, but not in as many innings, or situations as important.

    • http://RAB Yankee Trader

      I think Hughes was the set up man in 2009, and was probably the 2nd best set up man in the AL after Matt Thornton.

      • CountryClub

        He’s right, though. Marte was pretty good in the playoffs…especially the WS. Struck out 5 of the 8 batters he faced vs Philly.

      • Evan3457

        Yes, he was, but he ran out of steam in September, and in the post-season, Hughes wasn’t reliable at all.

        Marte was damm near perfect in the post-season, especially against Utley in the World Series, where nobody besides Mo could get him out.

  • Don’t Worry

    Free Pat Venditte!!

  • Farewell Mo

    So the Yankees have brought up Rich Hill.

    In his last season of work last year, he was worse against lefties and righties compared to Thornton this year.

    2013 vs leftites: .238/.375/.321
    2013 vs righties: .281/.390/.359

    Curious move that seems completely financially driven unless they’re convinced Lindgren’s promotion to the majors is just weeks away.

  • ropeadope

    Think Clay Rapada

    I started to, got a headache and had to lay down.

  • ropeadope

    LoHudders have succeeded in disabling the reply button!

    • Dan A.

      No they haven’t. This really isn’t that hard. If they keep fucking it up this commenting system is going to be gone for everyone. And no one will be happy.

      • ropeadope

        Ah, all the failed reply comments were removed from the thread. Not sure if you saw them. They were from both long time RAB and new LoHud posters. Or possibly an individual impersonating those posters.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          No, a couple of those were definitely failed responses from me early in the thread.

          • Scott

            I had a reply fail earlier too, might have been a glitch.

            • the Other Steve S.

              I ssometimes wonder if all the flamers/stalkers/wierdos are actually Zuckerberg’s nieces and nephews driving blogs to FB commenting

  • The REAL Bigdan

    It’s actually quite simple. They are going to trade for a big $$$ pitcher and need to absorb more salary to give up lower level prospects. There is really nothing else to it than that.

    • Evan3457

      This is possible.

  • Charles

    Bit puzzled by this, now our only ‘proven’ matchup lefty is… David Huff? Right now our team is way weaker because of this, no matter how inconsistent Thornton was, Matt Thornton>Rich Hill.

  • mustang

    Marlon Byrd!

    16-4.5= 11.5 for 2 years a lot better to live with.

  • Dan A.

    Webb and Lindgren project to be more than LOOGY’s right? Guys who can get lefties and righties out?

    • CountryClub

      Not sure about Webb, but yes for Lindgren.

  • mick taylor

    trade for josh beckett. he cleared waivers

  • mick taylor

    yanks can get josh beckett since he cleared waivers. he is better than colon or hammel

    • Don’t Worry

      I approve of trading for Beckett, without knowing who we’d give up.

      • Evan3457

        Last 5 starts:

        1-2, ERA 6.55, 30 H, 16 ER, 11 BB in 22 IP with 19 K, and 6 HR.
        And some DL time (hip impingement).

        Just sayin’.

        • Evan3457

          Oh, and the Dodgers are already stuck with Haren in the rotation. Not sure they can trade Beckett, even if the Yanks want to gamble.

  • http://RAB Yankee Trader

    And after all that I screwed up too.

  • http://RAB Yankee Trader

    Y’s Guy-

    Don’t feel bad. Took me a while to figure it out until a nice RAB’er helped me see the light!

  • MG

    This just in….

    Yankees to hold open tryout on Wednesday, August 6th at 1PM.

    The Yankees will hold an open tryout on August 6th at the site of Old Yankee Stsdium, anyone who can reach home plate throwing left handed is welcome.

  • There’s the Door

    Bad signing in the first place. Straight fastball, difficulty at high-leverage moments.

  • Frank

    Who is James Pazos? His name is being bandied about as a possible call up in the not too distant future.

    • Don’t Worry

      He’s a guy that might get called up in the not too distant future.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      http://www.baseball-reference......zos-001jam

      Numbers at Trenton are pretty crazy thus far. Doubt he truly gets the call.

      • Evan3457

        Numbers not really all that crazy; the ERA is quite low, but the other numbers are…OK, especially throwing half the innings in a very good pitchers’ park in a good pitchers’ league.

  • Hearn

    Meh. No great loss. Seemed like a decent guy, but not a lot of fire in the belly (I like my situation lefties like Graehme “Uppercut” Lloyd). and allowed WAY too many inherited runners and lead-off base hits.

  • craig

    What about Bastardo from the Phillies?

    • Don’t Worry

      He’s bastardic.

  • Deep Thoughts

    I’m amazed that 1) we got almost 200 comments on a thread about waiving Matt Thornton; and 2) nobody once mentioned replacing him on the roster with Zoilo Almonte.

    • Old Man Time

      ietc

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        As did I.

        • vicki

          DT been bringin’ the funny hard lately.

    • Scott

      I laughed.

  • Macho Man “Randy Levine”

    I will say that this surprises me a little. Obviously I’d love to see Lindgren get a shot, but that’s probably weeks away. I still have more confidence in Thornton than David Huff or Rich Hill.

  • SlapHappy

    Not feeling this at all. Thornton’s not horrible and is a better option than either Huff or Hill.

    We’re a game off the 2nd wild card and making the team worse (even if only incrementally so) to save a few dollars isn’t the way to go.

    Are our margins really that tight?

    • Old Man Time

      I don’t think it really makes the team worse due to Thornton allowing so many inherited runners to score. He’s 5th in MLB in IR allowed to score.

  • Eric in the ATL

    Great move! Never liked Thornton and thought the money could be much better spent. $3.5 off the books for next year, too.

  • stuart a

    as a member of the dislike THornton club, good move.

    get him off the books and his #’s were even worse then they appear..

    inherited runners disaster…

  • dan

    They should sell off everyone that will not help them next year…NOT GOING WIN THIS YEAR.

  • the Other Steve S.

    Seriously, over 200 comments because they let Matt Thornton go?!

  • Russ Cress

    They may call up Ty Webb?

    Why…is Danny Noonan not available?

    He’s younger.

  • Bigdan

    Gosh, just read what Girardi and Cashman said about Thornton. They talked about the move providing “flexibility” this year and next. Flexibility from saving $4MM? For the Yankees?

    I think this is more indicative of the culture the Yanks have created within the organization which flows directly from Hal. The Yanks see redundancies in their stock of relief pitchers. Redundancy creates inefficiency and I think this is how they are going to deal with this going forward. I can’t see how $4MM creates any real room to make a measurable improvement to the team this year or next.

    • Pete22

      BigDan, Hals budget rules. They are not going much over where they are this year, and with Arod back and Prados money on the book, and with the need to acquire a SP’er and SS, and Gardners new deal kicking in and a raise for D-Rob if they keep him, every dollar counts, even if it costs them the playoffs this year because Hill or Lindgren can’t get the job done in a key spot. Its insane with their revenues because they can easily afford a 250 million payroll with the new stadium and YES money (increased rights, lump sum payment for rights extension and and share sales that dumped almost 1 billion in cash in their laps) .

      • Bigdan

        I think for the most part you are correct. Hal’s budget does rule. But budgets don’t just exist to help firms turn a profit. They also exist to provide some internal discipline, and I think that’s a good thing.

        Budgets can be worked around to advance other priorities. It will be interesting to see if the Yanks make a play for Tomas or others in the Cuban (Tomas seems to be the best fit). It will also be interesting to see if they make Drob a QO. I don’t think they will.

        It should be an interesting offseason with lots for us to discuss regarding Hal and budgets.

  • J

    Alex Rios has been placed on waivers. He is owed $3.76M for this year and a $1M buyout for next year. Wouldn’t he be an upgrade from Ichiro?

    • Bigdan

      Ichiro is a 4th OF now. The starter is Prado.

  • Pete22

    Hals budget at work. He is a bit expensive for a LOOGY. For some reason when they signed him they thought he could get RHB’ers out, and at one time he could, but starting from last yer he lost that ability.

    That said, Thornton has done a pretty good job as a LOOGY recently. He will be missed if his spot can not adequately be replaced, but sounds like this Lindgren is being counted on to do so. Hill was great at one time before he is injured, but not sure he is up to the job. Hope the interim doe not cost them, they cant afford to lose any games over this move to save Hal pocket change.

  • No no cano

    I don’t see a huge reason to celebrate. A lefty on lefty specialist at the stadium is a necessity so to do this now strikes me as wierd. 4 mil on this team is not even a rounding error on the payroll… This comes across as a rebuild move.